Kameron Morral was still thinking about the one that got away; he was still bugged by a late race bobble on May 31 that cost him a victory when James Morris got by him on the last lap after a fantastic, lead-swapping duel between the two friends.
Morral got his revenge on Saturday, winning the Firecracker Frenzy event for 600cc Micro-Sprints at Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. And the driver who came after him, unsuccessfully this time, at the end of the race? Why it was his good buddy, Mr. Morris, of course.
The companion 270cc Clash at the Clyde went to Bradley Brown of New Providence, Pa. It was Brown’s first triumph of the season, and he won the 30-lapper in dominant fashion.
The winged warriors of the 600cc division competed in dual heats with passing points on Saturday, in the second race of the Tri-Track Challenge series being contested at Linda’s Speedway (July 4), the Clyde (on July 5), and at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA in Kutztown (on July 9). The top 12 in passing points then took part in “Knockout Qualifying”, similar to the system used by NASCAR this year, to determine the top dozen starting positions in the 30-lap A-Main.
Morral, who hails from Smithsburg, MD, advanced to the third and final round of the Knockout format, then set quick time in that segment to earn the pole for Firecracker Frenzy.
He jumped out on top at the drop of the green, while Tyler Walton, Mike Rutherford, and Morris waged a three-car fight for the runner-up spot. Rutherford got sideways in turn two on the eighth trip around the banked oval, falling back to eighth position in the process.
That left Walton and Morris to duel for second, and the pair actually caught Morral as they battled because the leader found himself in heavy lapped traffic as he entered the final third of the event.
Luke Thomas and Zach Light were racing side by side for position in front of Morral, leaving the race leader with little choice but to follow that battle for a few laps. Suddenly Walton and Morris were riding on Morral’s tail tank, and the everyone on a bleacher moved to the edge of their seat in anticipation of the battle royale that was about to unfold.
A yellow flag negated that tussle, however, and the caution proved to be a very close call for the three leaders. With seven to go, Thomas spun in the fourth turn, directly in front of Morral, who deftly steered right, up the track, and narrowly avoided contact with Thomas’ No. 97x, as did Morris and Walton.
“I saw Luke start to spin, and I’m thinking okay, what do I do now?”, noted Morral after the race. “I went high and hoped that he wouldn’t back up the track. When I saw that he was able to keep the car down on the low side, I knew I could clear him. That was a huge relief!”
The lineup for the restart had Morral in front, with Morris scored in second place on lap 23, just prior to the yellow. Walton lined up third as the race went back to green.
Walton got out of shape in the fourth corner with a few laps remaining, giving up third but rallying back to finish sixth.
Morral fended off a couple attacks from Morris over the final few circuits, gaining redemption and scoring the first Lanco victory of his career. Jason Swavely fell back in the pack early on, then steadily navigated his way forward, passing PJ Williams for third near the end. Tony DiMattia, who won this race in 2013, wound up fifth.
Morral also earned the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature Award by recording the quickest lap of the A-Main at 10.603-seconds.
Alex Bright climbed from his 18th starting spot to finish eighth, earning the Collegeville, Pa. resident a $100 bonus, courtesy of Shred Racing Photos, as the Hard Charger of the race. Bright was gassing Mike Dicely’s No. 44 on Saturday.
There were 33 entries in the 600cc Firecracker Frenzy, with heat race victories going to Steve Whary, PJ Williams, Chris Panczner, Tyler Walton, Chris Gerhart, James Morris, Tim Buckwalter, and Kyle Lick.
Dan Souder won the B-Main.
Bradley Brown lined up on the inside of row one as the 270cc Clash at the Clyde prepared to go green. On the start, Brown roared ahead of a three-wide scrap for second between Austin Bishop, Richie Hartman, and Mike Rutherford.
Hartman darted into the runner-up slot with Rutherford right behind him as they kicked Bishop back to fourth. Brown charged out to a comfortable advantage over Hartman, with Rutherford battling Bishop and sixth-starting Jarid Kunkle for third.
At the halfway mark of the 30-lapper, Brown caught the back of the field and began to cautiously thread his way past them. Hartman seized the opportunity to close the gap on the leader, eventually diving under Brown on the homestretch on lap 19 to snatch the top spot as Brown got trapped behind a slower car.
Once in front, Hartman set sail, separating himself from Brown as he sliced through lapped traffic. With 23 tours complete, one car got loose off turn four, leaving Hartman, who was closing quickly, with nowhere to go. The leader stood on his brake pedal but could not avoid slight contact, causing Hartman’s No. 39 to pitch sideways and stall. The yellow flew and Hartman gave up the lead in a most heartbreaking manner. He was able to restart in the back of the pack, ending up 11th when the checkered flag waved.
Brown was now in charge again, and he made the most of his good fortune, going on to win by more than one-second over Kunkle, who barely held off Bishop for second-place money. The duo engaged in a crowd-pleasing tussle for the position over the final laps, with Kunkle, a two-time winner this season, edging out Bishop at the stripe.
Rutherford wound up fourth and Jesse Maurer picked up the Hard Charger bonus from Shred Racing Photos by rumbling from 16th on the starting grid to finish fifth. Lee Reinhardt also gained 11 positions (21st to 10th), but Maurer got the $100 award by finishing higher than Reinhardt.
The Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature Award went to Brown, who turned the quickest lap of the 270cc A-Main at 10.921-seconds.
Four heat races were contested by the 33-car field of 270cc competitors, with victories going to Damon Bomgardner, Billy Logeman, Ross Perchak, and Christi Sweigart. Reinhardt notched the B-Main triumph.
Several sponsors contributed to the success of Firecracker Frenzy for the 600’s and the 270 Clash at the Clyde, including Hollinger’s Sports ‘n Turf, Dayton Parts, Wayne S. Lesher IV Company, Hyper Racing, Leach’s Automotive of Lemoyne, and Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic. The Quality Shoppe of Kutztown also posted an additional $100 for the winner of the 600cc A-Main, bumping the first place payout to $650. Also, as mentioned, Shred Racing Photos sponsored the Hard Charger Award in each division.
Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway is back in action this Saturday, July 12, as the point chases continue to build drama and excitement, with the five weekly divisions heading toward the double-point, members only Clyde Martin Memorial Race on July 26.
This week’s event will be run in memory of the late Pete Ober, a longtime racer and devoted member of the Lanco club. The 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints will compete in qualifying heats, consolations, and 25 lap feature races.
Gates open at 3:30 on Saturday, July 12, with warm-ups beginning at 5:00. The first heat goes green at 6 p.m. This Saturday’s running order is as follows: 125cc, Four-Strokes, Sportsman, 600cc, 270cc.
General admission for adults is just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and Students. Tickets are only $2.00 for youth between the ages of six and 12, and children under the age of six are admitted free. And parking is always free at the Clyde!
Firecracker Frenzy for 600cc & Fourth Annual 270cc Clash at the Clyde
Firecracker Frenzy for 600cc Micro-Sprints, 30-lap A-Main: 1.Kameron Morral, 2.James Morris, 3.Jason Swavely, 4.PJ Williams, 5.Tony DiMattia, 6.Tyler Walton, 7.Jared Esh, 8.Alex Bright, 9.Shaun Brandel, 10.Mike Rutherford, 11.Tim Buckwalter, 12.Dan Souder, 13.Austin Bishop, 14.Brittany Brown, 15.Luke Thomas, 16.Zach Light, 17.Bill Jackson, 18.Sam Locuson, 19.Gregg Stevens, 20.Chris Panczner, 21.Kyle Lick, 22.Bradley Weber, 23.Steve Whary, 24.Heath Hehnly.
DNQ: Chris Gerhart, Nate Prazenica, Dave Carlberg, Troy Musselman, Bobby Scherff, Brandon Noel, Roger Weaver, Jack Conover, Mike Winkler.
Shred Racing Photos Hard Charger Award: Alex Bright (18th to 8th).
Weld Racing Fast Lap of Feature: Kameron Morral – 10.603 seconds.
270cc Clash at the Clyde, 30-laps: 1.Bradley Brown, 2.Jarid Kunkle, 3.Austin Bishop, 4.Mike Rutherford, 5.Jesse Maurer, 6.Damon Bomgardner, 7.Kyle Spence, 8.Jason Swavely, 9.Dan Lane Jr., 10.Lee Reinhardt, 11.Richie Hartman, 12.Derek Miller, 13.Dave Williams, 14.Christi Sweigart, 15.Toby Blumenshine, 16.Nick Skias, 17.Nate Weidman, 18.Josh Schaffer, 19.Ray Miller, 20.Heath Hehnly, 21.Tommy Kunsman Jr., 22.Ricky Sechrist Jr., 23.Billy Logeman, 24.Ross Perchak.
DNQ: Matt Peachy, Tyler Ulrich, Jason Rhoads, Kyle Hehnly, Cale Mutter, Taylor Shissler, Dale Arnold, TJ Greve, Kylie Winkler.
Shred Racing Photos Hard Charger Award: Jesse Maurer (16th to 5th).
Weld Racing Fast Lap of Feature: Bradley Brown – 10.921 seconds.